This post is the third on the work of the FAO and the challenges that they are addressing - hunger and malnutrition. The questions are raised by everyday people who see the tragedy of the affliction and the immorality of inadequate response from the developed world.
The images are cut from the heart: men and women depleted, the frazzle clothes, their bodies reduced to skin and bone. Even more painful is watching the children deformed by malnutrition, left to die in the dust.
Watch this video - the words are in Portuguese but the pictures are universal.
963 million people hungry, says FAO reports the Monitor Online News , According to the Guardian Newspaper Nearly a billion people worldwide are starving, UN agency warns, and Food prices add 40 million people to ranks of malnournished.
The problem of hunger is most acute in Africa were people are starving. Malnutrition is more widespread and actually affects more children in Asia according to World Hunger Notes.
According to the most recent estimate that Hunger Notes could find, malnutrition, as measured by stunting, affects 32.5 percent of children in developing countries--one of three(de Onis 2000). Geographically, more than 70 percent of nourished children live in Asia, 26 percent in Africa and 4 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Africa though has multiple afflictions that combined together present a daunting challenge. People speak of an African Scourge, but scourge in Africa has many faces.
- Incontinence African Scourge; Lack of Medical Care Turns Girls into pariahs.
- Confronting Africa's scourge: AIDS
- Short draws attention to Africa's scourge of river blindness
- Central Africa: Scourge of Africa examined Genocide
- 14 Million at Risk of Starvation in Africa August 2008
- Starvation in Southern Africa October 2005
- Africa: millions threatened with starvation September, 2002
- Africa Death by Starvation - TIME January 1990
World Hunger Notes provides some insights into the problems, a few of which are summarized below.
- The world produces enough food to feed everyone. The principal problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food.
- Poverty is the principal cause of hunger. The causes of poverty include poor people's lack of resources, an extremely unequal income distribution in the world and within specific countries, conflict, and hunger itself, an estimated 982 million poor people in developing countries who live on $1 a day or less (World Bank, Understanding Poverty, Chen 2004).
- Conflict as a cause of hunger and poverty. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)reports that as of December 2006, there were at least 22.7 million displaced, including 9.9 million refugees and 12.8 million internally displaced persons (UNHCR 2007).
- Hunger is also a cause of poverty. By causing poor health, low levels of energy, and even mental impairment, hunger can lead to even greater poverty by reducing people's ability to work and learn.
Two resources featured in this blog can also help to provide some understanding. Both are under Millennium Bloggers with Minds of Their Own below this post. Anup Shah writes about, World Hunger and Poverty, at GlobalIssues.org, Last updated: Sunday, July 06, 2008. Rav Casley Gera provides an informative chart in African history in ten seconds: New and improved! in his blog African Development for the Completely Bloody Ignorant posted under Useful sources. The recently discovered, The Profits of Famine: Southern Africa's Long Decade of Hunger is an older article from back in 2002, but it still provides some good insights into how we were brought to the present circumstances.
It is hoped though that the article will become even more out of date as people continue to endeavor to change the world for the better. As many of the stories in the TED Talks Africa, The Next Chapter tell us, Africa has unrealized potential and does not wish to be seen as either the charity case for the world or as the stepping stone for the world. One of my past posts Accession of African Activists. A DIY approach to the MDGs has a number of videos taken from the series.
Another worthwhile site, Goal One: Eradicate Hunger and Extreme Poverty.It is still possible to continue making the needed changes to create a better world.
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